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New Office 2007 Beta Coming

CeBIT attendees got to see the latest version of the Office 2007 user interface which will be present in the March 13 Beta 1 refresh. The new interface, screenshots of which are on Jensen Harris’s blog, appears to have been tweaked to appear less jarring to longtime users.

Basically, every single Ribbon-based program (except Access), has a large amount of buttons arranged in such a way that, at first glance, appears to be a standard two-row toolbar. They’ve made the font area of the ribbon resemble more than before a toolbar, so that when you glance, you see something familiar, while the rest of the interface opens up into the free-roaming and powerful Ribbon. I’m assuming users will find this easier to adjust to.

Meanwhile, the interface has been given a blue overhaul which I really don’t like. Its as bad as the blue Office XP interface looks, and that blue is the biggest reason I have never used Office XP and refuse to do so. Thank god, Office 2007 gives you a choice of skins, and the Vista friendly black skin is my sort of thing.

The Quick Access Toolbar, which contains the most popular commands (save/undo/redo) has been moved to the title bar (smart) and is joined by the Office Button, which is basically an extra large program icon. Clicking it brings up all the file control menu options (new/open/save/save as/finish/share/print/close). Great place to put it, much better than the old placement, and it makes the title bar icon actually do something.

Beyond that, the only noticeable change is that Ribbon chunks now have their names below the chunk, so that they aren’t confused with the tabs.
(via Mary Jo Foley)

Microsoft’s Office 2007 UI page, updated with new info

March 10th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Office, Applications, General | no comments

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